Atheist ad on a bus in Madison, Wisconsin

ALCblsE (1)

The Atheists, Humanists, & Agnostics (AHA!) group at the University of Wisconsin at Madison has bought these rather good ads on the local city buses, inviting people for whom "religion has stopped making sense" to come by for a chat. (via Skepchick) Read the rest

Catholic priest 'caught snorting cocaine in Nazi room'

Image: SUN

Here's a report about a Catholic priest said to have been found snorting cocaine in a room adorned with Nazi symbols. In other words, another Monday on the internet.

Read the rest

Crowdfunding to send Australian sex-abuse survivors to Rome for testimony of notorious cardinal

animation (2)

Cardinal George Pell presided over decades of horrific abuse of Australian children by his clergy; now the active, vigorous crime-boss says he's too weak to return to Australia from the Vatican to attend a commission on the crimes, meaning that he won't have to confront the survivors of the abuse he abetted. Read the rest

God's trade show

louis-de-belle_besides-faith_8138-1024x682

Religious paraphernalia -- from gilded goblets to huge Jesus statues to "high-tech" electronic rosaries -- is a $5 billion business. The International Exhibition of Church Furnishings, Liturgical Items and Religious Building Components, held in the north east of Italy, is like the CES of religion. Photographer Louis de Belle captured the high weirdness in a beautifully strange series "detaching for a moment all of (religion's) paraphernalia from the notion of faith."

"This trade fair's functional infrastructure, stocked with clergy apparel, liturgical items and cult objects, becomes the backdrop of a "counter–reality" made of bored salesmen, busy nuns and misplaced items," de Belle writes. "A last supper is hanging before a modest refreshment, agonising crucifixes are being quickly deposited, while industrious sisters do their business."

See more of the series: Besides Faith

Buy the "Besides Faith" book.

Read an interview with de Belle in Wired.

Read the rest

Archbishop of St Louis says Girl Scout Cookies encourage sin

5f17d9fb9da2c1a267e2778d03f3be57

Robert Carlson, the archbishop of St Louis, MO, has circulated a two-page letter to his flock in which he raises the question, "Can I still buy Girl Scout cookies?" Read the rest

Are you a spiritual leader? Take shrooms for science

ezgif-4156258880

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine seeks religious and spiritual leaders to participate in a research study on psilocybin and mystical experience.

Read the rest

Women in Zika-affected countries beg online for abortion pills

800px-Mifepristone.svg.png

Throughout latinamerica, many countries ban abortion under any circumstance, an historic artifact of the states' close relationship with the Catholic Church. This ban on abortion has always put women's lives at risk, but with the threat of Zika virus, the dire situation has turned urgent, and widespread. Read the rest

Ross and Carrie become Scientologists: an investigative report 5 years in the making

download (1)

One of my favorite podcasts is Oh No Ross and Carrie, in which two investigative journalists join cults and fringe religions, and try out new age remedies and practices, and report back on the experience. Read the rest

Oklahoma's repeat-offender Republican Creationist lawmakers take another run at science education

9650462984_866c7452ff_o

Every year, like clockwork, longstanding Oklahoma legislators in the state's house and senate introduce bills that try to find a way around the prohibition on teaching Biblical Creationism in American public schools. Read the rest

Pope Francis: atheists who follow their consciences will be welcome in Heaven

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x906

The Pope's message, contained in an open letter, is more directed to the faithful than the nonbelievers, and is a repudiation of millennias' worth of Church doctrine that equates heresy with sin. Read the rest

Leaked Salvation Army memo details internal homophobia and discrimination

ml885

The Salvation Army has struggled to distance itself from its reputation for homophobia, but a 2014 memo on "LGBT issues" by midwest Commissioner Paul Seiler spells out a number of ways in which the organization discriminates against LGBT employees. Read the rest

Young Earth Creationist will run Arizona Senate education panel

800px-Sylvia_Allen_by_Gage_Skidmore

Sylvia Allen, the GOP state Senator from Snowflake, AZ, believes the Earth is 6,000 years old. She will run the state Senate's committee to oversee educational legislation. Read the rest

The medieval origins of mass surveillance

1024px-Köln_-_Dom_-_Gargoyles_01_ies

Many have remarked upon the parallels between Santa's naughty list and mass surveillance, but the idea that a supernatural being is watching your every move and judging you for it is a lot more pervasive than just the Santa story: it's the bedrock of Christianity. Read the rest

The evolution of anti-evolution bills

evolution-tree-640x723

In a new paper in Science (paywalled), Nicholas J. Matzke from the National University of Australia demonstrates the evolutionary connection between anti-evolution bills introduced into US state legislatures in a series of iterated attempts to ban or weaken the teaching of evolution by natural selection and to promote Biblical creationism in various guises in its stead. Read the rest

Top your tree with Baphomet, Cthulhu or Krampus

Baphomet_Tree_Topper

They're from Middle of Beyond (who make the bigfoot and Krampus sweaters). $20 each, 8" tall: Krampus, Cthulhu, or Baphomet. (via Christian Nightmares) Read the rest

Iceland's fastest-growing "religion" courts atheists by promising to rebate religious tax

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x892

In Iceland, tax-authorities collect "parish fees" from all residents and remit them to churches based on the stated religious affinities of those residents. If you're an atheist, your fees are collected and go into a general fund shared by all churches. Read the rest

Mesopotamian boundary stones: the DRM of pre-history

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x881

Sarah Jeong had me standing up and cheering with her comparison of kudurrus -- the ancient Mesopotamian boundary stones used to mark out territorial land-grants -- and the way that laws like the US DMCA protect digital rights management systems. Read the rest

More posts